Everyone's a critic (or "No, I am not a paid blogger")

This week on Twitter was a little like a spicy meal that repeats on you at 2am. Nic Haralambous and Rich Mulholland dredged up what feels like an old criticism about my posts about Nokia and its products (in particular the Nokia N97 which I now own, thanks to Nokia SA – I am one of 4 people who received an N97 as an extraordinary gesture of Nokia’s appreciation for the recent Search for N competition coverage). I wrote about the main criticism that has been levied against me in a post titled “Which rules should bloggers play by?” in which I asked a number of questions about, as the title suggests, what the rules of the game are for bloggers. None of my most vocal critics responded to what I hoped would be the beginning of a debate about this issue which is clearly a pressing issue.

Nic posted a tweet the other day which just irked me.

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He was responding to a post I published about how Gizmodo covered the N97, not because I disagreed with Gizmodo’s criticisms but because I objected to how Gizmodo covered the topic. From my perspective the Gizmodo post could have been about any brand or product and I still would have objected. It just so happens I saw the Gizmodo post because I have been reading reviews of the N97, most of which have been pretty critical of the device (and most of which I agree with).

I had a brief sms conversation with Nic after I saw his tweet and the one issue which came up was credibility and coming across too strong(ly?) when I write about stuff on my blog, Nokia stuff in particular. The same issue came up earlier today when Rich responded to a silly tweet I posted:

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By way of introduction

There are a couple things I’d like to get out of the way here quickly:

  • First, the only companies paying me for my blogging are Google and Afrigator and even then my earnings are negligible (I am expecting my first cheque from Afrigator for about R400 or so for a couple months’ ads);
  • Contrary to popular belief, I am not employed or otherwise contracted by Nokia (I have a business which I am building);
  • I have received a couple benefits writing about Nokia and its products which most people don’t receive (you can read about them on my Disclosures page) but that isn’t why I write so much about Nokia – I do it because I am actually a fan and have been for over a decade;
  • I am not a journalist and don’t purport to be one;
  • There are no strings attached when it comes to Nokia. In fact, Nokia people have demonstrated themselves to be very much aware of the risk of unduly influencing bloggers and have gone to some effort to avoid doing that.

Where was I? Oh yes, passion …

I outlined my approach to my blog in my previous post on this subject:

I write about things I am passionate about. I believe that this passion means I am incapable of being unbiased about what I write about and I instead focus on being authentic in my posts. I write what I feel, think and believe rather than what I am told to write. That has become my measure of success as a blogger. In doing so I also attract criticism for being too focussed on particular brands or topics. Does this undermine my credibility? I don’t really know and I would rather be as transparent as I can be about my influences and leave it up to my readers to decide how much weight, if any, to give to what I write.

Seeing that the criticism I face is about how much I write and what I have to say about Nokia, I’ll start there. I have always had a Nokia phone. My first phone was a Nokia 2110i back in the late 1990s and I can probably tell you which Nokia phones I have owned since then. There has always been one brand for me (at least until the iPhone opened the door to an alternative). There are about 123 posts on this blog where I mention Nokia (ok, 124 if you include this one) and about 35 of those posts were published from about December 2008 when I first had access to someone at Nokia SA (specifically, Mathia Nalappan, Nokia SA’s General Manager). One of my earliest Nokia posts was published on 25 January 2005 when I wrote about my Nokia 6600 and thoughts about what my next Nokia phone would be.

As you can see, I’ve been writing about Nokia for a while now and that was all about my passion for Nokia phones and the brand. There have been times when I was pretty critical of Nokia (in particular my much reviled Nokia N73 ME) and times when I have been very complimentary. What has changed in recent months is that I have been given access to review units, Nokia people and I even got to fly to Dubai (I have heard that this was pretty controversial and pissed a lot of people off) where I met a number of people from Nokia MEA and HQ and had insights into Nokia’s culture and methodologies which just inspired even more passion about Nokia. This extra exposure to Nokia has been fantastic. I am a gadget nut (phones especially) and being able to test out new phones has been a real highlight for me. Being able to interface with Nokia people in various roles has been even more exciting. I learned about Nokia’s commitment to social media (probably a strong factor behind the decision to send me to Dubai), its customers, its design philosophy and how it sees its devices as components of the social Web. More access + Nokia people who take the time to listen to me = more passion for Nokia and its products.

Passion is also the driving force of social media itself. It is the stuff that case studies are made of and the glue that binds communities that spring up around products, brands, ideas and more. People have always evangelised stuff they really like and criticised the stuff they don’t. They have used word of mouth to spread the word. This is what we all do every day when we share our passions for the stuff we care about. I certainly do.

Let’s talk about me again

Social media is another of my passions. I use social media every day and have difficulty imagining/remembering a time when I couldn’t express myself the way I do. I can be pretty intense when I am really excited about something and I put that down to my obsessive-compulsive tendencies. I mentioned earlier that I am not a journalist and don’t claim to be one. I say this because there seems to be an expectation that bloggers behave like journalists. I don’t subscribe to that philosophy. Blogs are a way to express yourself and while there are many excellent journalists who use blogs as effective tools (Simon Dingle and Duncan McLeod are two journos who I respect tremendously and who blog in addition to their other wo
rk), there are also many people who use a blog as a way to have their say. I am one of the latter group of bloggers. I write about the stuff I care enough about to set aside a couple hours per post to write about. I don’t claim to be unbiased at all. Rather I believe that my passion for what I write about makes me inherently biased and I don’t make any apologies for that. I do my best to be accurate when I report facts but you tend to get a lot of wild opinion from me too. Ultimately it is up to you to decide for yourself if what I write has any value to you and, if so, how much.

This idea of passionate blogging is hardly new. Nic runs the popular SA Rocks blog which is all about passion for South Africa. Rich is, to me at least, passion on two legs and his passion for his family, freebording (not sure if I am spelling that correctly), whichever brand of rock/music he goes for, tattoos and more seeps out of his various online spaces. In fact, when I think about being passionate about what you do, I immediately think of Nic and Rich who I both respect and am continuously inspired by.

This blog is one of my outlets and one of the brands/companies I am passionate about is Nokia. It may not be the most popular brand/company amongst my critics but I dig it and I therefore write about it. Perhaps the comment that I write like Nokia pays me is an apt comment because it implies a certain degree of motivation and drive to write about Nokia except that motivation isn’t money. It isn’t even about the access I have to new phones (although that does fan the flames) or even the fact that Nokia sent me to Dubai (I loved the business class flight, no question, and I really enjoyed meeting the people I met). I write about Nokia because I have been a Nokia fan for as long as I have owned a mobile phone. Nokia may not make the best mobile devices in the world but there are other reasons for me to be passionate about Nokia and that is why I keep talking about Nokia.

I’m not going to argue with my critics about my credibility. Credibility isn’t about how I see myself, its about how you see me. My only suggestion is that you read what I write, compare what I have to say with people who regard as credible, authoritative or whatever your measure of value is and decide for yourself what value my posts have for you. There are a couple things I don’t do. I don’t write positive posts in exchange for payment in cash or goods. I also don’t allow companies to unduly influence my posts in any other way. I also don’t appreciate suggestions that I do these things and I especially don’t appreciate any suggestions that I am being dishonest.

Ultimately, though, it is up to you to decide for yourself what to take from my posts. I’m just sharing what I am passionate about.

Paul

Enthusiast, writer, strategist, web developer, and photographer. Passionate about my wife, Gina and #proudDad.

  1. OK. So a bit of honesty here. Obviously you and I know each other. I know you are an ethical, credible person, and I have the highest respect for your work. I have absolutely ZERO problem with you being flown to Dubai by Nokia (I honestly cannot believe why some *would* have a problem with this)

    But…

    I do think your coverage of Nokia is excessive, and peculiar. I also do not see how it fits with you being a lawyer, even though I understand you do not blog just to promote your career. Nevertheless, it is confusing, and possibly very detrimental to how people perceive you with respect to your career.

    I understand and respect all your arguments above. But at the end of the day, it’s not just credibility at stake, but also my (and your other readers’) perception and overall feelings. If you have to justify your posts for me to accept them as “oh, ok”, then either your posts are not appropriate, or I am not well suited for your blog.

    Of course, the choice is ours to make, and make it we should.

    My suggestion is that you consider submitting your reviews to a site that is actually designed to host such reviews, and simply link to that post via a short intro on your blog.

  2. OK. So a bit of honesty here. Obviously you and I know each other. I know you are an ethical, credible person, and I have the highest respect for your work. I have absolutely ZERO problem with you being flown to Dubai by Nokia (I honestly cannot believe why some *would* have a problem with this)

    But…

    I do think your coverage of Nokia is excessive, and peculiar. I also do not see how it fits with you being a lawyer, even though I understand you do not blog just to promote your career. Nevertheless, it is confusing, and possibly very detrimental to how people perceive you with respect to your career.

    I understand and respect all your arguments above. But at the end of the day, it’s not just credibility at stake, but also my (and your other readers’) perception and overall feelings. If you have to justify your posts for me to accept them as “oh, ok”, then either your posts are not appropriate, or I am not well suited for your blog.

    Of course, the choice is ours to make, and make it we should.

    My suggestion is that you consider submitting your reviews to a site that is actually designed to host such reviews, and simply link to that post via a short intro on your blog.

  3. On the one hand, I agree with Eve, Richard & Nic. Yes, it does appear that you are a Nokia “buzz agent”. It does question your credibility. And even though you may not think so, having a trip sponsored by Nokia will influence your attitude.

    But then, on the other hand, I’ve recently become more & more aware of the blogger/journalist conundrum. Your right to write about whatever you like is yours & you of all people would know what the repercussions of expressing your opinion online are. There’s a chance that bloggers may be held accountable to some sort of government body that monitors online written content & I don’t like the sound of that idea. I DO believe that any writer that expresses his/her opinion about non-fiction should be held accountable, but I don’t like the idea of regulation.

    And the point is, you are a Nokia fan & you have made that very clear in this post. I myself have only owned Nokia phones & plan to do so in the future. If anyone asked, I’d recommend a Nokia – mostly because they’re the first & only phones I’ve used. The next one with be Nokia … & if they offered me the same deal as you, I’d be very happy. Heck, considering that I’d like a new phone I’m going to ask YOU for your opinion because you know them better than most of my friends would. So in that regard, I’m pretty glad that you’re so opinionated, it means I get ‘expert’ advice.

    Is your credibility *really* at stake? I … don’t think so. I mean, you write about Nokia. There’s no good reason why shouldn’t & your blog is not about mobile phone reviews either. It’s about you & your opinion. And as for your credibility as an expert of web law in South Africa … well, this has nothing to do with that. So what if you are passionate about Nokia & write a completely biased post – it’s your right as a fan!

    I’m sure if any other manufacturer asked you to do an honest review, you would – based purely on your reputation, I don’t think you’d be nasty or critical on purpose.

    In closing, from the impression I get from this blog, it’s about you & your interests, not necessarily about your professional opinion or your company’s vision. You’re clearly more interested in using a Nokia phone more than any other, so much so that you’re a fan & find the time (how?) to blog about it. Some people will FIND YOU because of your interest, MANY people will disagree. Are you going to let your ‘readers’ (who can unsubscribe with a click anyway) dictate to you what your opinion is, or are you going to allow others to be attracted by your ideas & thoughts? Because you’re never going to liked by everybody anyway, no matter how much you try. I’m sure that there many be many people who are disagreeing with me *right now* & think I’m totally wrong about this, but you know what? When they get to meet me & see what I can do, they’ll still respect me (hopefully). Who cares? It’s not like they’re clients anyway.

    “Life is not about being liked, it’s about being effective.” – Joel Bauer

    IMHO,
    – @Marcel_Perform

  4. On the one hand, I agree with Eve, Richard & Nic. Yes, it does appear that you are a Nokia “buzz agent”. It does question your credibility. And even though you may not think so, having a trip sponsored by Nokia will influence your attitude.

    But then, on the other hand, I’ve recently become more & more aware of the blogger/journalist conundrum. Your right to write about whatever you like is yours & you of all people would know what the repercussions of expressing your opinion online are. There’s a chance that bloggers may be held accountable to some sort of government body that monitors online written content & I don’t like the sound of that idea. I DO believe that any writer that expresses his/her opinion about non-fiction should be held accountable, but I don’t like the idea of regulation.

    And the point is, you are a Nokia fan & you have made that very clear in this post. I myself have only owned Nokia phones & plan to do so in the future. If anyone asked, I’d recommend a Nokia – mostly because they’re the first & only phones I’ve used. The next one with be Nokia … & if they offered me the same deal as you, I’d be very happy. Heck, considering that I’d like a new phone I’m going to ask YOU for your opinion because you know them better than most of my friends would. So in that regard, I’m pretty glad that you’re so opinionated, it means I get ‘expert’ advice.

    Is your credibility *really* at stake? I … don’t think so. I mean, you write about Nokia. There’s no good reason why shouldn’t & your blog is not about mobile phone reviews either. It’s about you & your opinion. And as for your credibility as an expert of web law in South Africa … well, this has nothing to do with that. So what if you are passionate about Nokia & write a completely biased post – it’s your right as a fan!

    I’m sure if any other manufacturer asked you to do an honest review, you would – based purely on your reputation, I don’t think you’d be nasty or critical on purpose.

    In closing, from the impression I get from this blog, it’s about you & your interests, not necessarily about your professional opinion or your company’s vision. You’re clearly more interested in using a Nokia phone more than any other, so much so that you’re a fan & find the time (how?) to blog about it. Some people will FIND YOU because of your interest, MANY people will disagree. Are you going to let your ‘readers’ (who can unsubscribe with a click anyway) dictate to you what your opinion is, or are you going to allow others to be attracted by your ideas & thoughts? Because you’re never going to liked by everybody anyway, no matter how much you try. I’m sure that there many be many people who are disagreeing with me *right now* & think I’m totally wrong about this, but you know what? When they get to meet me & see what I can do, they’ll still respect me (hopefully). Who cares? It’s not like they’re clients anyway.

    “Life is not about being liked, it’s about being effective.” – Joel Bauer

    IMHO,
    – @Marcel_Perform

  5. @Eve Dmochowska

    Hi Eve, thanks for your feedback. Maybe I need to work on that brain-mouth/keyboard barrier thing and redirect my enthusiasm. The one point I do want to make is that this isn’t where I blog about my work as a lawyer (which I don’t really mention in my “about” page on this blog). I blog about legal issues on http://webtechlaw.com“ rel=”nofollow”>web.tech.law which is my firm’s site. I’ve even gone so far as to remove a number of law-related posts from this blog and repost them to my firm’s site.

  6. @Eve Dmochowska

    Hi Eve, thanks for your feedback. Maybe I need to work on that brain-mouth/keyboard barrier thing and redirect my enthusiasm. The one point I do want to make is that this isn’t where I blog about my work as a lawyer (which I don’t really mention in my “about” page on this blog). I blog about legal issues on http://webtechlaw.com“ rel=”nofollow”>web.tech.law which is my firm’s site. I’ve even gone so far as to remove a number of law-related posts from this blog and repost them to my firm’s site.

  7. Hey dude, sheesh, now I just feel bad. I was poking fun more than anything else, but having said that, it definitely feels like Nokia have you in their pocket lately. If they paid you it would actually be fine, I guess it’s the “have you been inadvertently bribed?” question that comes up.

    Don’t get me wrong, I have the deepest respect for both you (except when it comes to your choice of big dodgy earphones) and the Nokia team, I don’t think anything is intentionally devious. But dude, I’ve been reading you for many years now and this Nokia passion is far more prevalent in recent days. It looks, and feels too much to me at least.

    It’s a tricky balance that brands, and bloggers need to be really careful about these days…!

  8. Hey dude, sheesh, now I just feel bad. I was poking fun more than anything else, but having said that, it definitely feels like Nokia have you in their pocket lately. If they paid you it would actually be fine, I guess it’s the “have you been inadvertently bribed?” question that comes up.

    Don’t get me wrong, I have the deepest respect for both you (except when it comes to your choice of big dodgy earphones) and the Nokia team, I don’t think anything is intentionally devious. But dude, I’ve been reading you for many years now and this Nokia passion is far more prevalent in recent days. It looks, and feels too much to me at least.

    It’s a tricky balance that brands, and bloggers need to be really careful about these days…!

  9. @Rich…!

    Hi Rich, thanks for your comment. I respect your opinion on pretty much everything (although I think I draw the line at your taste of music, body art and road sports with planks and wheels). I accept I have probably been going a bit overboard with my evangelism but I really must reiterate that Nokia has never pressured me or tried to influence my posts. The incessant Nokia posts are all motivated by my obsessive desire to share everything I may be thinking about Nokia and its devices.

    I have a couple items I still want to post about Nokia but I will reign my impulses in a bit. Beyond these posts and one or two reviews of other products (like G-Connect and the IS equivalent) I am going to try ease way off the social media pedal.

  10. @Rich…!

    Hi Rich, thanks for your comment. I respect your opinion on pretty much everything (although I think I draw the line at your taste of music, body art and road sports with planks and wheels). I accept I have probably been going a bit overboard with my evangelism but I really must reiterate that Nokia has never pressured me or tried to influence my posts. The incessant Nokia posts are all motivated by my obsessive desire to share everything I may be thinking about Nokia and its devices.

    I have a couple items I still want to post about Nokia but I will reign my impulses in a bit. Beyond these posts and one or two reviews of other products (like G-Connect and the IS equivalent) I am going to try ease way off the social media pedal.

  11. Look, Paul. Just don’t bother. There will always be people who say stupid things without having the proper information. This is a given in the blogging world. I think the best thing to do here is ignore everyone who has an opinion based on anything but reality. I’m not saying you should ignore every opinion, but you have to draw the line somewhere. Otherwise you’ll end up believing each and every jealous individual. And that’s no good.

    If you’re in Nokia’s pocket, then who’s pocket is Gizmodo in? Well I guess we know the answer to that. The difference, however, in my opinion, is given by facts. Now in your posts there are 5000 times more actual facts than in Gizmodo’s review. You know, that one.

    So even if they were in someone’s pocket, and you were in Nokia’s, it still doesn’t matter.

    The fact is some people have gotten so used to Apple’s paranoia that they can’t believe that there might be another company, let’s call it Nokia, who’s reaching out to ALL bloggers, not just those with n million pageviews.

    As for being flown to Dubai influencing your opinions, sorry. This isn’t about one company. It’s about one person. You. It’s your blog. It’s about you. And being influenced by a paid trip is something that someone really stupid would do. And you’re not stupid.

    I’ve seen dozens of people writing ‘bad’ reviews for Nokia phones they had been sent, yet they continue to receive new phones on a regular basis. Unlike other companies, Nokia seem to understand that any publicity is good publicity.

    Me, I care for facts. We can disagree on absolutely everything if, and only if, we’re both aware of the facts. If one of us wanders into another universe while completely ignoring the facts, and furthermore even outright lying, then I get upset.

    Other than that, it’s a free world. And blogging is for writing whatever you want. So go ahead and keep up the good work. I’ll be reading.

  12. Look, Paul. Just don’t bother. There will always be people who say stupid things without having the proper information. This is a given in the blogging world. I think the best thing to do here is ignore everyone who has an opinion based on anything but reality. I’m not saying you should ignore every opinion, but you have to draw the line somewhere. Otherwise you’ll end up believing each and every jealous individual. And that’s no good.

    If you’re in Nokia’s pocket, then who’s pocket is Gizmodo in? Well I guess we know the answer to that. The difference, however, in my opinion, is given by facts. Now in your posts there are 5000 times more actual facts than in Gizmodo’s review. You know, that one.

    So even if they were in someone’s pocket, and you were in Nokia’s, it still doesn’t matter.

    The fact is some people have gotten so used to Apple’s paranoia that they can’t believe that there might be another company, let’s call it Nokia, who’s reaching out to ALL bloggers, not just those with n million pageviews.

    As for being flown to Dubai influencing your opinions, sorry. This isn’t about one company. It’s about one person. You. It’s your blog. It’s about you. And being influenced by a paid trip is something that someone really stupid would do. And you’re not stupid.

    I’ve seen dozens of people writing ‘bad’ reviews for Nokia phones they had been sent, yet they continue to receive new phones on a regular basis. Unlike other companies, Nokia seem to understand that any publicity is good publicity.

    Me, I care for facts. We can disagree on absolutely everything if, and only if, we’re both aware of the facts. If one of us wanders into another universe while completely ignoring the facts, and furthermore even outright lying, then I get upset.

    Other than that, it’s a free world. And blogging is for writing whatever you want. So go ahead and keep up the good work. I’ll be reading.

  13. Hey Paul,

    First off, good blog post. Respect for putting it out there. As Rich said, I have ample respect for you and what you do.

    Vlad – I don’t think that what I said was stupid at all. In fact, I think I have a valid point, if you look to Paul’s archives they don’t focus on Nokia, Over the past recent while Paul has focused immensely on Nokia driven content. He always goes to great extent to cover the fact that he isn’t paid by Nokia or any other organisation he writes about but I would argue otherwise.

    What is the retail price of a brand-spanking new Nokia N97 that only 4 people in SA have? I’ll argue more than most bloggers earn via Google or Adgator in a year. That’s paid content however which way you choose to look at it. Now let me stress that I don’t think Paul is swayed by Nokia giving him things, it’s just a very fine line to tread. Appearing as such or actually being such.

    Paul – You raise a very interesting (and old) topic here, to blog or to “journ”. There is a difference but again that line is becoming blurred. More and more people are googling answers to their questions. Mainstream journo’s aren’t covering gadgets as effectively as bloggers these days. How many of the Nokia’s handed out were given to “partial” journalists? If none, why do you think not?

    At the end of it all I think you write with passion and that, above all is the most important thing, but sometimes is pays to be partial, or as close to partial as possible.

  14. Hey Paul,

    First off, good blog post. Respect for putting it out there. As Rich said, I have ample respect for you and what you do.

    Vlad – I don’t think that what I said was stupid at all. In fact, I think I have a valid point, if you look to Paul’s archives they don’t focus on Nokia, Over the past recent while Paul has focused immensely on Nokia driven content. He always goes to great extent to cover the fact that he isn’t paid by Nokia or any other organisation he writes about but I would argue otherwise.

    What is the retail price of a brand-spanking new Nokia N97 that only 4 people in SA have? I’ll argue more than most bloggers earn via Google or Adgator in a year. That’s paid content however which way you choose to look at it. Now let me stress that I don’t think Paul is swayed by Nokia giving him things, it’s just a very fine line to tread. Appearing as such or actually being such.

    Paul – You raise a very interesting (and old) topic here, to blog or to “journ”. There is a difference but again that line is becoming blurred. More and more people are googling answers to their questions. Mainstream journo’s aren’t covering gadgets as effectively as bloggers these days. How many of the Nokia’s handed out were given to “partial” journalists? If none, why do you think not?

    At the end of it all I think you write with passion and that, above all is the most important thing, but sometimes is pays to be partial, or as close to partial as possible.

  15. OOOOh, a blogger got something for free! I mean it’s not like Paul got sent on that trip with the editor of a traditional publication like PCFormat or something like that. To be honest, as another blogger that has had a lot of great perks from Nokia, I’m unsure as to what the issue is here.

    Let’s pose the following question: who are the loudest, dumbest people on the Internet: Apple users! Once a website is behind the Apple reality distortion field they never, ever get out and will defend Apple to the last breath. Lets be realistic here, the iPhone has its flaws and so does a device like the Nokia N97. Paul will usually point out annoying quirks about Nokia phones while iPhone lovers tend to only focus on the “pretty design” or the “great app store” rather than the fact that a lack of keyboard sucks for work.

    Surely instead of criticizing Paul (and yes it gets a bit much at times) we should rather be so impressed that someone is so passionate about a product in such generally apathetic times? Another point is that if Nokia wanted to use Paul to punt their product isn’t he maybe the wrong person? I mean come on, the guy spend 90% of his day infront of an Apple Mac in a coffee shop somewhere. Realistically, Nokia is looking to target the office bound worker who would rather buy a Blackberry not the mobile lawyer. In this regard Paul is not the right spokesperson. He spends most of the day on a rival brands hardware and never needs to email or work on his phone as he’s always at a PC. A busy exec that is in meetings and works between those meetings would be a much more interesting blogger to target.

    Of course Nokia gets great coverage from someone like Paul and (I hope) even myself but if you read Paul’s reviews it’s not purely sycophantic and he does point out the negatives.

    With regards to it affecting your professional life: Well I’m not entirely convinced that being associated with a company like Nokia makes you look bad. If anything it’ll raise your profile?

    Simon Dingle talks about Apple almost every ZATechShow, why aren’t we running after him with flaming torches and pitchforks? We don’t for the simple reason that it’s refreshing to see someone passionate about a brand.

    I say tone is down a bit (maybe 7/10 posts can be Nokia related not 10/10) but certainly don’t stop.

  16. OOOOh, a blogger got something for free! I mean it’s not like Paul got sent on that trip with the editor of a traditional publication like PCFormat or something like that. To be honest, as another blogger that has had a lot of great perks from Nokia, I’m unsure as to what the issue is here.

    Let’s pose the following question: who are the loudest, dumbest people on the Internet: Apple users! Once a website is behind the Apple reality distortion field they never, ever get out and will defend Apple to the last breath. Lets be realistic here, the iPhone has its flaws and so does a device like the Nokia N97. Paul will usually point out annoying quirks about Nokia phones while iPhone lovers tend to only focus on the “pretty design” or the “great app store” rather than the fact that a lack of keyboard sucks for work.

    Surely instead of criticizing Paul (and yes it gets a bit much at times) we should rather be so impressed that someone is so passionate about a product in such generally apathetic times? Another point is that if Nokia wanted to use Paul to punt their product isn’t he maybe the wrong person? I mean come on, the guy spend 90% of his day infront of an Apple Mac in a coffee shop somewhere. Realistically, Nokia is looking to target the office bound worker who would rather buy a Blackberry not the mobile lawyer. In this regard Paul is not the right spokesperson. He spends most of the day on a rival brands hardware and never needs to email or work on his phone as he’s always at a PC. A busy exec that is in meetings and works between those meetings would be a much more interesting blogger to target.

    Of course Nokia gets great coverage from someone like Paul and (I hope) even myself but if you read Paul’s reviews it’s not purely sycophantic and he does point out the negatives.

    With regards to it affecting your professional life: Well I’m not entirely convinced that being associated with a company like Nokia makes you look bad. If anything it’ll raise your profile?

    Simon Dingle talks about Apple almost every ZATechShow, why aren’t we running after him with flaming torches and pitchforks? We don’t for the simple reason that it’s refreshing to see someone passionate about a brand.

    I say tone is down a bit (maybe 7/10 posts can be Nokia related not 10/10) but certainly don’t stop.

  17. Paul, it’s just plain old jealousy and insecurities from these people, and none of it is new. If any of the complainants had been on the same flight to Dubai, I’d bet a million bucks they wouldn’t have twittered about any of this, and this blog post would have never have had to be written by you. If they don’t like the Nokia mentions, or any others, the choice always remains for them to unfollow you on Twitter, stop visiting your blog or unsubscribe from your RSS feed. Heck, if we have to start counting the number of people on Twitter who promote themselves in their tweets, and bloggers who promote their services and/or jobs and/or products in their blogs, or Muti members who do the same, we’d find ourselves at a very large number indeed.

  18. Paul, it’s just plain old jealousy and insecurities from these people, and none of it is new. If any of the complainants had been on the same flight to Dubai, I’d bet a million bucks they wouldn’t have twittered about any of this, and this blog post would have never have had to be written by you. If they don’t like the Nokia mentions, or any others, the choice always remains for them to unfollow you on Twitter, stop visiting your blog or unsubscribe from your RSS feed. Heck, if we have to start counting the number of people on Twitter who promote themselves in their tweets, and bloggers who promote their services and/or jobs and/or products in their blogs, or Muti members who do the same, we’d find ourselves at a very large number indeed.

  19. Hi Nic and Saul, thanks for your comments. I can appreciate that receiving a N97 could be construed as payment for coverage but I can’t emphasise enough that this was not the basis of this gift. Of course people will form their own views which is why I maintain that however biased my writing seems, people need to decide for themselves what value to take from my posts. It is helpful to read other bloggers or journos who you tend to follow and place my posts into context. Just a thought.

    Saul, I agree with you about toning down the Nokia talk. I get carried away when I really get into something and it is easy to forget I am about to post my 50th Nokia tweet of the morning. I am thinking about ways I can use services like FriendFeed to still get my views across without flooding Twitter (no, FriendFeed isn’t paying me either although I did get a free account). I’ll get better at this.

  20. Hi Nic and Saul, thanks for your comments. I can appreciate that receiving a N97 could be construed as payment for coverage but I can’t emphasise enough that this was not the basis of this gift. Of course people will form their own views which is why I maintain that however biased my writing seems, people need to decide for themselves what value to take from my posts. It is helpful to read other bloggers or journos who you tend to follow and place my posts into context. Just a thought.

    Saul, I agree with you about toning down the Nokia talk. I get carried away when I really get into something and it is easy to forget I am about to post my 50th Nokia tweet of the morning. I am thinking about ways I can use services like FriendFeed to still get my views across without flooding Twitter (no, FriendFeed isn’t paying me either although I did get a free account). I’ll get better at this.

  21. One more thing… people should spend less time being so self-righteous, because there are many glass houses lurking around out there.

  22. One more thing… people should spend less time being so self-righteous, because there are many glass houses lurking around out there.

  23. SaulK I think you’re wrong bro. I’m an apple user in a big way, but I must be the loudest critic of them as a company that I know. Also, how much free shit does Apple give Simon (cpompared to any other manufacturer)? I thought as much.

    Marc, there’s no jealousy, just concern for the credibility of a dude I respect.

  24. SaulK I think you’re wrong bro. I’m an apple user in a big way, but I must be the loudest critic of them as a company that I know. Also, how much free shit does Apple give Simon (cpompared to any other manufacturer)? I thought as much.

    Marc, there’s no jealousy, just concern for the credibility of a dude I respect.

What do you think?

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